RE: Editorial review board - when to edit?

Subject: RE: Editorial review board - when to edit?
From: "Al Geist" <al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com>
To: "'Peter Neilson'" <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>, "'Kieran Sullivan'" <ksullivan -at- tssg -dot- org>
Date: Thu, 23 Sep 2010 08:54:05 -0400

I would like to add to Peter's excellent suggestions that the skill of the
author also affects the time and depth of the editorial process. One of my
first writing projects was writing operational theory and maintenance
procedures for an military air navigation system. I had the technical
skills, but my writing was closer to a 10-grade hockey player than a
professional technical writer. My supervisor called me and had me sit in a
chair next to his desk. In his hand was a print out of my first paragraph.
In front of him was the paragraph cut into individual words laid out in
order, and next to me was a blank sheet of paper covered with double-sided

We went through my text word-by-word sentence-by-sentence, placing the words
that were needed in rows on the tape and tossing the "deadwood" in a pile. I
was livid at first, but he was as compassionate as he was tough, so I sat,
listened, and responded to his comments. The end product was tighter, flowed
better, and conveyed the message without confusion, and there was a big pile
of useless words left over. Spelling was corrected during the process, and
the words that were left had a lot of red ink on them. I never forgot that
and, although harsh, I am a much better writer because of that experience. I
saw him do the same to several other fledgling writers, half of whom walked
out and never returned. Brutal? Yes, but when I became a magazine editor, I
realized that a lot of new writers could benefit from the same process. All
too often, lazy writers tend to think that the editor will clean it up for
them, and each time we do means less time available for other projects.

Okay...I'm off the soap box. Everyone can get back to work now......

Al Geist
Technical Communicator, Help, Web Design, Video, Photography
Office/Msg: 802-872-9190
Cell: 802-578-3964
E-mail: al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com
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"...I walked to work, quit my job, and kept walking. Better to be a pilgrim
without a destination, I figured, than to cross the wrong threshold each
day." (Sy Safransky)


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Editorial review board - when to edit?: From: Kieran Sullivan
Re: Editorial review board - when to edit?: From: Peter Neilson

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